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Walking home from a friends house Raven Woods’ protective nature puts her life in danger and brings her to the attention of those secretive beings who hunt Florence at night. The repercussion of drawing their attention places Raven under suspicion for the theft of Professor Emerson’s Botticelli Illustrations. Where she disappeared to for a week and how she accomplished the changes in her appearance are questions she can’t answer. Raven, who intentionally tries to fly under the radar, has attracted attention from not only the police but several other sources that can make her life a misery or end it. In an effort to clear her name Raven discovers a name and following that lead sends her even deeper into a shadowy, dangerous underworld she may never escape.
SR’s vampiric world, hidden beneath and threading through the human world, has strong feudal overtones. Governed by an overlord, The Roman, with each principality ruled by a prince or princess; territories are jealously guarded and permission must be granted to travel into another principality. The system is rife with plots, machinations, and power grabs at all levels. There are even whispers The Roman no longer exists…..
William aka The Prince has ruled Florence for hundreds of years. His reign speaks to his power but there’s a traitor in his midst. Readers are kept on their toes trying to deduce exactly who the Judas is and how far the treachery extends.
On the surface William is handsome, cultured, and educated but beneath the surface is where the real interest lies. What lies beneath William’s ruthless exterior? Who was he before he was transformed?
Raven, an American conservationist working at the Uffizi, is the perfect complement to William. Raven has physical, mental, and emotional scars; she’s seen and experienced too much of the ugliness of human nature from a young age. To truly discover Raven requires time, effort, and a willingness to go beyond the physical. Sadly, most people are unable or unwilling to look beyond appearances to her inner beauty. William isn’t.
The character complexity, especially in respect to the heroes, readers have come to expect from SR is in full force. SR’s heroes are on quests and William is no exception. Good, evil, redemption, faith and the lack or loss of it, William believes he’s fallen from grace and is therefore unworthy of forgiveness and redemption. He seeks the answers to questions he isn’t always aware of asking, deep thoughtful questions that can only be answered on an individual basis.
Raven is a typical SR heroine in that she’s good and pure, though pure doesn’t necessarily mean virginal. Raven is a kind, thoughtful, protective, nurturing person. She’s strong and stands up for herself and others.
Raven and William’s arguments, discussions, and reasons behind their personal beliefs give readers plenty of food for thought.
I love the way Florence and its history comes to life through the characters experiences and explorations. The growing relationship between Raven and William, the clash of their realities and the danger their attraction puts them in make for a tense read. Can they possibly overcome the seeming insurmountable challenges of bridging their vastly different worlds? Will their attraction cost William Florence and Raven her life? Anticipating the next book’s revelations and machinations, fortunately the solutions are never easy or straight forward.